Celebrating 30 Years, Swallow Hill Announces the Complete Artist Lineup for RootsFest Denver

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Swallow Hill presents the Third Annual Denver RootsFest with Hot Rize, Shawn Colvin, Leo Kottke, also featuring Tallest Man on Earth, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Joe Pug, and Boulder Acoustic Society

Shawn Colvin

...(he) manages to embody Dylan's effortlessness so well...infusing his songs with a detachment that, miraculously, is neither cold nor alienating. Like Dylan, Matsson is so natural a songwriter that these tracks feel predetermined, tumbling out of his mouth with an ease and grace that's increasingly uncommon.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Swallow Hill is pleased to announce the artist lineup for the Third Annual RootsFest Denver (formerly known as the Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival) on Saturday, March 28, 2009, in the unique setting of one of the finest acoustic concert halls in America, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. RootsFest Denver 2009 will feature headliners Hot Rize, Shawn Colvin, and Leo Kottke, who will be joined by some of the hottest young acts in roots music today, including Tallest Man on Earth, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Joe Pug, and Boulder Acoustic Society.

Assigned seating tickets are now available online 24/7 at swallowhillmusic.org, at our box office at 71 East Yale Avenue, Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and by phone: (303) 777-1003 x2. Box office at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House opens at 4 p.m. the day of the RootsFest Denver

The evening begins at 6 p.m. sharp with a series of four showcases featuring some of the most buzz-worthy up-and-coming roots artists in the nation.

Kicking off the night is Colorado's own Boulder Acoustic Society (BAS), who have been performing and teaching at Swallow Hill throughout their rising career. Old school but never old, they represent the new wave of American roots music, dubbed by Darol Anger as "...the future of String Band Music on a silver platter."

Joe Pug, who is receiving widespread critical acclaim as one of the most respected songwriters of this generation, will make his Denver debut at RootsFest. Pug has been on tour with the Bo Deans and is making his debut at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival later this month.

Delivering music that can "heal what ails ya," Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams] will take the stage to create an enchanting atmosphere, using traditional folk instruments, tasty electric guitar, and the distinctive singing and songwriting of Joziah Longo. Their latest CD, The Great Unravel, was hailed by the UK's Maverick Magazine as "mightily impressive and hugely original... 'tis truly an epic soundtrack."

Swedish singer/songwriter Tallest Man On Earth, aka Kristian Matsson, will also be making his Denver debut fresh off his tour with Bon Iver, one of the most talked-about of 2008. A mysterious figure, he has been drawing comparisons as "the next Dylan." Pitchfork Media couldn't resist declaring the cliché as well. In a recent review of his album, Shallow Grave, Amanda Petrusich writes "...(he) manages to embody Dylan's effortlessness so well...infusing his songs with a detachment that, miraculously, is neither cold nor alienating. Like Dylan, Matsson is so natural a songwriter that these tracks feel predetermined, tumbling out of his mouth with an ease and grace that's increasingly uncommon."

Innovative acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke's fingerpicking is sure to sound amazing in the Opera House's finely crafted sound qualities. Having survived a series of personal obstacles including partial hearing loss and tendon damage to his hand, Kottke has emerged to become one of the most masterful of modern guitar players. His performances are captivating, coupling his playing with monologues that range from strange to humorous. Unconventional in style and composition, he pushes boundaries and inspires with his art, which ranges from blues to jazz to folk and beyond.

Multi-Grammy-winning artist Shawn Colvin has inspired a legion of young artists to take up the art of song crafting. A masterful storyteller, her songs are full with tenderness and empathy, and peppered with pop hooks that garner mainstream appeal. Now based in Austin, her latest release, These Four Walls, is filled with 12 powerful songs and has been called a "beautifully crafted project" by Dirty Linen magazine.

Hot Rize's high-energy and unique sound is legendary and appealing to fans both young and old, featuring Grammy Award winners Tim O'Brien and Bryan Sutton, plus Pete "Dr. Banjo" Wernick and eTown's Nick Forster. This event also marks Hot Rize's 30th year in the bluegrass history book. The celebration is especially serendipitous as the original members of the band got their start by being part of the Swallow Hill community. Swallow Hill's recording studio, Sawtelle Studio, is named in honor of original Hot Rize member, Charles Sawtelle, who passed in 1999.

The emcees for the evening will be Swallow Hill founding father and Denver Folklore Center proprietor, Harry Tuft, and musician couple Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore. Tuft established the Denver Folklore Center in 1962 and promoted some of the biggest folk boom shows in the Denver area, including Joan Baez's first Red Rocks show in July 1964. O'Brien has been called one of root's music's best interpreters and singers, her songs crossing genre boundaries from jazz to southern mountain traditional, to R&B and blues. O'Brien & Moore's CD, 900 Baseline, sold out at last year's Festival.

About Swallow Hill Music Association:
Helping people make and enjoy music since 1979, Swallow Hill Music Association is one of the largest nonprofit institutions of its kind in the United States as a source for folk, roots and acoustic music. With more than 2,300 members, Swallow Hill provides a place to celebrate music that is rarely heard elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain Region. Three concert venues house more than 200 performances a year, featuring some of the world's great artists as well as up-and-coming new talent. Swallow Hill's Julie Davis School of Music offers classes for every interest, skill level and member of the family. Each year, a faculty of 60 instructors provides training to more than 4,000 students. A Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), Swallow Hill has been named one of the Top 25 Movers & Shakers in Arts & Culture by the Rocky Mountain News, has won both the Mayor's and Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and countless "Best of Denver" awards, has been recognized by the North American Folk Alliance, and is one of the most sought-after venues by folk and roots performers in the country.

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Rodolfo Betancourt